INL Fission Supercomputer is Simulating Nuclear Fuel

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World Nuclear News is reporting that the new Fission supercomputer at Idaho National Labs is six times more powerful than its predecessor, Icestorm. The Appro Xtreme-X supercomputer consists of 14 racks with a total of 12,512 cores based on AMD Opteron processors and has a peak speed of 91 teraflops.

An INL team is already using Fission to simulate what happens to the metal cladding that surrounds uranium fuel in a nuclear reactor. The supercomputer helped the team to create a 3-D fuel rod model that simulates how heat, pressure and other conditions affect cladding during its first 18 months in a reactor. “Fission is enabling us to simulate things we couldn’t before,” said computational applied mathematician Derek Gaston, who worked on the fuel rod project. “With Fission, we have been able to simulate a real fuel rod in a real reactor. We haven’t had the computing power to do that until now.”